Innovation and forward-thinking may be Hawaii’s two biggest exports in 2017. Earlier this month, the state earned the distinction of being the first in the U.S. to formally accept the provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the nation from it, and now, Hawaii is taking the lead in embracing yet another innovative idea: universal basic income (UBI).
Today, Hawaii state representative Chris Lee wrote a Reddit post about House Concurrent Resolution 89, a bill he says he introduced in order to “start a conversation about our future.” According to Lee, “After much work and with the help of a few key colleagues, it passed both houses of the State Legislature unanimously.”
The bill has two major provisions. First, it declares that all families in Hawaii are entitled to basic financial security. “As far as I’m told, it’s the first time any state has made such a pronouncement,” wrote Lee. The second provision establishes a number of government offices “to analyze our state’s economy and find ways to ensure all families have basic financial security, including an evaluation of different forms of a full or partial universal basic income.”
The congressman thanked “redditors” in his post, as he said the site became his first resource in considering UBI, and added a Reddit-standard TL;DR at the end: “The State of Hawaii is going to begin evaluating universal basic income.”
A Step Forward
Under a UBI program, every citizen is granted a fixed income that’s not dependent on their status in life. Despite the current focus on the concept, it actually isn’t particularly new. In fact, former U.S. President Richard Nixon actually floated the idea back in 1969.
However, the benefits of such a program have become more appealing in light of recent technological advances, specifically, the adoption of automated systems that could result in widespread unemployment.
UBI is another name for welfare. We plan to eliminate most of your jobs, so we need to put most of you on welfare. We need you to come to learn to love your servitude. This is most likely inevitable, and will be hard to fight. So maybe we should just add some provisions like a universal top income – start at no one can make more than $500K a year and see if these Zuckerman’s and Bezos will balk or support. Can they live their current lifestyles on $500K a year? It is 10 to 20 times that of… Read more »
I am sorry but I do not get the concept of servitude or brutality.. And in spite of the headline I find no explanation of such concepts related to UBI. If you use Technology to put every one out of work, how else would they survive.. this UBI would be more like retirement and people who can find a way to remain usefully employed would be able to do so.. the rest of us can go skiing…
And, what makes you think your UBI would be enough for you to go skiing?